ERIC Number: ED196751
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Strategic Voting: Individual Reasoning and Collective Consequences.
Johnston, Richard G. C.; And Others
This paper explores various aspects of voting behavior among nearly 900 British Columbia voters in the 1979 Canadian federal election. Specifically, the paper examines the aggregate significance of strategic choice in a voting situation and identifies factors which increase or decrease an individual's disposition to act strategically. Strategic choice in a voting situation is defined as voting for an issue or candidate which is perceived as having the best chance of winning, although the issue or candiate is not the favorite. The method involved directing respondents to answer questions about liking and disliking several political phenomena such as candidates and issues, perception of the relationship of choice of a local candidate and choice of government, assessment of the competetive situation in a local constituency, intent to defect for the purpose of defeating the least preferred alternative, predicted action if a preferred candidate or party has no chance to win, perception that a strategic opportunity exists, and opportunity to respond to perceived opportunities. Findings indicated that 35% to 50% of respondents said they would act strategically in some situations--particularly to keep one's least preferred party from government; a minority of respondents would vote sincerely regardless of consequences; and over 40% of respondents acknowledged at least one constituency-strategic opportunity. Four factors were identified as likely to reduce a strategic voting response: (1) preference for sincere voting, (2) uncertainty; (3) more concern for long-run success of preferred party than for immediate aversion of least preferred party's victory; and (4) belief that partisanship is an end itself rather than a means to policy. The authors concluded with the implication that although the aggregate significance of strategic voting is uncertain, the potential for strategic action is large. (DB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: British Columbia; Canada
Note: Prepared for delivery at Annual Meeting of American Political Science Association (Washington, DC, August 28-31, 1980). Not available from EDRS in paper copy due to poor legibility of original document.